It has been suggested by feminist critics that “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” would be better titled “Snow White and Her Wicked Stepmother.” Indeed, the power of the Snow White story is founded in a conflict between two women: a wicked matron and an innocent, persecuted heroine. This lecture will explore the representation of women in the Snow White story by examining such issues as beauty, virtue, aging, and women’s agency. Retellings from the Grimm Brothers, Anne Sexton, Angela Carter, and Walt Disney will receive special attention. While the details of the Snow White story may vary, one theme stands above all: growth. Snow White is growing up, and her stepmother cannot bear to see it; the witch within the older woman is drawn out in an effort to preserve beauty and disavow the passing of time. However, change happens as both women move from one stage of life to the next. Ultimately, Snow White is a tale of female transformation. Is it a limiting or empowering story – or does that depend on the version?
Jeanna Kadlec, ’10 Menomonie, WI
Majors: English, Politics, Women’s Studies
Sponsor: Michelle Mouton